OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Budget 2014: Yeah okay.

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Do you think there is any chance of getting
    Marylin Waring to stand again?

    We need all the working class heroes
    (and heroines ) we can get…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7889 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    practical disability issues

    You seem to mean MoH-funded personal support services? Most disabled people never need to use those, though I appreciate how crucial and poorly-designed the current system for them is.The practicalities of disability though are broader, hence having to look in many places in the Budget to find the expenditures.

    a mass walkout if they get dismissed, then throw the damn Strategy and UNCRPD at their sorry heads.

    Do you think those managers actually make the decisions you want to change? Or that we have enough power to *make* them comply with some policies our governments have signed up to? Don't you think it would have been done by now?

    You're really not convincing me you understand how social change and politics works. Perhaps we can pick this up in a different conversation, though. This one is meant to be about the Budget, after all.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    I suspect there is no other area of government activity that has embraced neo liberalism to the extent that MOH:DSS has. The minority of disabled New Zealanders who are dependant on some degree of hands on care have been victims of a support system organised by a ministry that has little idea of what is needed and no respect for those citizens who need them.

    MOH happily contracted out these services to charitable organisations and private enterprise...with little in the way of monitoring to ensure that they were doing the job the taxpayer was paying them to do. Hundreds of providers have now been whittled and conglomerated into a mere handful of super providers...performing tasks way beyond mere disability supports for MOH, MSD, ACC and DHBs.

    For most disabled, the only portal through which supports can be accessed is through one of these large, often multi national companies.

    These companies are in it for the money. Their contracts seemingly protect them from a) censure if they fail to perform, and b)reduction of income if say, the government changed a policy so disabled had real choice of who provided the care they need. (Bearing in mind that an estimated 60% of disabled would choose NOT to go through a provider, given the CHOICE that the HRRT decision, if honoured by the government, would have facilitated)

    The Ministry of Health is one of the few government departments left largely unscathed by a change in government. One only had to listen to Tony Ryall's pronouncements (regarding the Family Carers Case) to realize he hadn't got a clue what was going on in Health, much less in Disability Support Services. He is totally at the mercy of his advisors and other senior bureaucrats. They trundle on regardless of what colour flag flutters over the funny shaped building over the road.

    Methinks, that if Government is the dog and the Ministry is the tail, then the tail is wagging the dog.
    Me also thinks, that the network of contracted providers unleashed by the Ministry to carry out its core disability support services has effectively seized control...yanking the tail of the dog.

    No...I don't understand politics...thank god...that would require a brain with many more convolutions than mine.

    Social change...what the hell does that mean anyway? What does 'social change' look like? Its an expression bandied around like it can be somehow quantified.

    I do understand about democracy...sort of...the "majority rules" bit. I wonder what this years budget would have looked like...because I am still on topic...if those disabled people needing 'personal support services' were in the majority.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    One only had to listen to Tony Ryall’s pronouncements (regarding the Family Carers Case) to realize he hadn’t got a clue what was going on in Health, much less in Disability Support Services. He is totally at the mercy of his advisors and other senior bureaucrats.

    Having had conversations with some of those very bureaucrats, I'd dispute this. Tony Ryall very much knows what is going on in Health, and most of it is at his express direction. The fact that he's been able to keep as low a profile as he has should tell you something about the way he's been managing the sector, though you'll find little of it in writing.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to nzlemming,

    Having had conversations with some of those very bureaucrats

    And of course those bureaucrats were being honest? Yeah, right.

    On the issue of paying family carers...Tony Ryall was repeatedly spouting the same rhetoric and profferring the identical flawed data that was presented to the HRRT by Crown Law on behalf of the MOH....back in 2008...before the flag changed over the Beehive.
    Most of that flawed data had been generated by the Ministry from its so called records from the previous five years or so. All under Labour.

    The current predominant method of accessing disability support services through MOH:DSS is still the same as the system entrenched under Labour.

    I felt so sorry for Tony Ryall back in June 2012 when he was clearly talking through the proverbial on this issue...suggesting that he was starting to look a bit of a dick(not in those words exactly...but you get the drift)...spouting figures that had already been debunked.

    I am sure it was NOT because of my 'friendly' email...which I have no doubt he did not read...but I bet one of his entourage actually did check...cause the 'numbers' (of unpaid family carers now demanding to be paid) started to come down.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    You seem to mean MoH-funded personal support services? Most disabled people never need to use those, though I appreciate how crucial and poorly-designed the current system for them is.The practicalities of disability though are broader, hence having to look in many places in the Budget to find the expenditures.

    Yes, the MOH and ACC personal support services are not relevant to the majority of people with disabilities. But to those who need them these services are vital. Without them these disabled people are either condemned to the institutions Rosemary has mentioned, well known for their neglect and abuse of the most vulnerable, or must rely on the loving care of their families, at the price of financial security.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Sacha,

    You're really not convincing me you understand how social change and politics works. Perhaps we can pick this up in a different conversation, though. This one is meant to be about the Budget, after all.

    I'm not at all sure I understand how social change and politics works. I've seen social change. I follow politics. I'm not sure there's any ability at all for individuals who are not and will never be in positions of power or influence to have much effect on either. In the past we relied on organisations to represent our interests but that doesn't seem to work anymore. And when you go through a legal process and the consequence is Government using urgency to pass legislation to tightly restrict the effects of the Court's decision, can you really continue to believe that we live in a democracy? Anyway, as you said, this is a conversation to be had elsewhere.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Sacha,

    Is that related in any way to the loan for Auckland's new electric trains?

    Nope. It's all for roads. The loan for the new trains was already handled in, IIRC, the 2010 budget, and that one's a loan to Auckland Transport which will end up as the owner of the new trains.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    If there is an accountant out there, with a moment. I would like to know if the money, I think 40 million, that has been invested in crown irrigation, will yield better dividends than if that money had been left in power generation.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    If so, steer her in the direction of a more suitable political party.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Ta. Reading since then, apparently it's a great counter-example.

    The only reason for this latest 'loan' is to be able to claim there's a Budget "surplus" this year.

    The other one's actually a loan. Unlike how Wellington paid for their equivalent new trains.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    And of course those bureaucrats were being honest? Yeah, right.

    Actually, they are. You might let a little more light into the argument if you stopped demonising people and thought about the fact that most people join the public service because they want to make the country run, not because they want to run the country. They are people, just like you and me. They follow the direction of an elected government that sets the policy, the targets and holds the purse strings. The bureaucracy may suffer from inertia in either getting moving or stopping once started, but they are, by and large, not the initial force. That is the minister. And those are the people who want to run the country.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Also, if you work for MoH you can't respond to people slagging you off. It's really bad form to drag civil servants into this kind of thing, especially by name, and I kinda think it's something that we should frown on as a community. Ministers are responsible for their departments, not the people who work for them. If you have a disagreement with a policy, have a go at the minister, not the civil servants.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to nzlemming,

    They are people, just like you and me.

    No they are not. Well, not me.

    I do not lie. I do not intentionally mislead. I do, and have not, compromised my sense of honour( archaic notion, I know) for the sake of a large number of dollars dropping into my bank account on a regular basis.

    I would not encourage a disabled person to be 'creative' in order to access the funding allocated for their care...because the 'legitimate' avenues simply would not work, indeed would be unsafe in their situation.

    I would, as a civil servant, (whether directly employed by the Ministry of Health, or working for a contracted provider) inform the Ministry in no uncertain terms that some policies do not work. That some policies are harming disabled people and causing stress, anxiety and severe financial disadvantage. I would also tell my bosses that there are laws and policies...and then there is the REAL world...where many of those laws and policies are harming the very people we are being paid to provide supports to.

    Yes, I have spoken to a number of these civil servants. This is after 'having a go' at the minister, the other minister, the no.1 minister and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all...who have all sent me back to the civil servants. Who are so addicted to their income they have refused to help. There are some of these bureaucrats...and yes I have spoken with them face to face...who simply do not have the required knowledge about, nor understanding of, the realities of living with a significant impairment. Their ignorance and arrogance are breathtaking.

    If you have nothing better to do...have a look at the leaders of NGOs, provider organisations, monitoring and auditing companies,...a preponderance of ex MOH bureaucrats....They take care of their own.

    And yes...I know some of those bureaucrats have lied. Unfortunately, the very real climate of fear the Ministry of Health Disability Support Services has created in sections of the disabled community has resulted in disabled being too frightened to speak out when they know injustice is rife in the system.

    If I am outspoken...it is simply because I have nothing further to lose. And...I didn't do a backdoor deal so I could be paid for the disability care I provide.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Also, if you work for MoH you can't respond to people slagging you off

    You can, however, investigate them and charge them with 'fraud' for doing what a bureaucrat/civil servant suggested in order to access much needed funding for disability suports.

    Or, you can, after letters and a phone call, contact a complainers NASC, resulting in a fifty per cent reduction in the already minimal supports allocated.

    Now THAT really knocked the wind out of us.

    For a while.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

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